The “old school” days of working out math problems with no calculator will be coming back for a day at the 2015 Louisiana Elementary Math Olympiad, open to all fourth- and fifth-graders students in Louisiana. The event is planned for Feb. 21 at Kenilworth Science and Technology Charter School.

Participation is free to any fourth or fifth grade public, private, charter or home-schooled student in Louisiana, but students must register at www.laemo.org.

The Olympiad is a one-hour paper and pencil test that includes multiple choice questions from various math topics, and will also include door prizes, lunch and parent workshops.

The concept behind the Louisiana Elementary Math Olympiad is to encourage students to participate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics studies and to celebrate their successes. Organizers say Louisiana’s future depends on better preparing its students.

“We constantly see news reports about how Louisiana’s workforce is not prepared for today’s technology jobs, and that is an educational issue we have to address in the elementary grades,” said Eugene Kennedy, an LSU professor and member of Kenilworth’s School Board. “It is critical that these students develop strong math skills so they will have a solid foundation for the rest of their educational careers.”

Students can win electronic prizes, such as iPods and Kindles, and the teachers of winning students will receive gift cards.

Kenilworth, a state-sanctioned charter school that focuses on STEM studies, has hosted the event for several years, first as the Baton Rouge Math Contest. The event was expanded in 2014 to include all Louisiana students and renamed the Louisiana Elementary Math Olympiad.

Partners for The Olympiad include the LSU Department of Mathematics, Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance and the Black Alliance for Educational Options. The event is sponsored by Baton Rouge Coca-Cola.